While talking about his experience directing Invasion Season 2 director Alik Sakharov teased a big alien attack in the upcoming premiere.
Invasion Season 1 premiered back in October 2023. The show follows several different groups of characters around the globe as they all deal with the catastrophic events caused by the arrival of a new species on Earth.
When the first season ended, the world thought they had struck a fatal blow to the alien’s advances. One of the leads of the show, Billy Barratt’s Caspar, even lost his life—or at least, the one on everyone’s normal plane of existence.
Now, the first episode of Season 2 is almost here, and fans will be able to finally continue watching Invasion’s story unfold.
Invasion Director Teases Season 2 Aliens & Performances
In an exclusive interview with The Direct’s Russ Milheim, Invasion director Alik Sakharov, who helmed episodes one, two, three, and five of the show's second season, spoke about his time on the series and revealed that the new season starts with a big alien attack.
One of the unique elements of Invasion is its globe-spanning story that follows several different groups of people. But which set of survivors was the most challenging for Sakharov and his team to pull off?
According to the director, “they’re all challenging,” but the filmmaker was quick to point to “the set piece of the first sequence” as a particularly tricky moment.
It turns out that it's actually a massive "action sequence with aliens attacking in Osaka:"
“You know, actually, they're all challenging... We come into season two, in a big go-go-go action sequence with aliens attacking in Osaka, and people running to save their lives, and we're introducing a principal character and she's trying to help everybody and… she's being extracted and brought to Brazil. So the set piece of the first sequence is very challenging…”
Sakharov made note that while the Osaka sequence was challenging, every set of stories had its own unique challenges:
“But it's not to say that others aren't as challenging. You know, when we meet our other actors, our other characters, they may have different challenges. They may have more subtler challenges, but they're challenging as well.”
The director shifted to Golshifteh Farahani’s Aneesha and her journey, explaining how her story shows a “universal struggle that everyone understands:
“There is a challenge between Aneesha and the kids, you know, and her struggle with the children, and also her struggle to be on the run and try and save her kids… [It’s] sort of like [a] universal struggle that everyone understands. A mother trying to save her kids. It's something that everyone can relate to. And no matter what country you live in, you know, this is a universal thing… the show… has a universal appeal, because everyone understands everyone's struggle.”
On top of in-story challenges, there are practical ones in making the series a reality. Sakharov pointed to their time in the UK, and the difficulties in “[finding] locations to dress and to photograph” that fit the needs of the script:
“When we are in the UK there is a set of challenges there as well, you know, we need to set up action such a way so that we kind of feel it's almost kind of post apocalyptic... so for us, it's a production challenge to find locations to dress and to photograph in very specific ways that you know, kind of answer to the script.”
Speaking about his duties directing the series, Sakharov made it clear that for him, “the most important thing is” to both “direct the episodes in the most effective way possible” and “invoking proper emotion:”
“The most important thing is, you know, for me to direct the episodes in the most effective way possible, and invoking proper emotion... and to be as honest as possible to the material. And basically, try and get performances, good performances from the actors, you know. If I have achieved that, then we're good… ”
One thing he enjoys the most about Invasion is how “its character-based drama,” all up “against the backdrop” of a planet-wide alien invasion:
“What was interesting [with ‘Invasion’], and what was very palatable and agreeable to me personally, was that its character-based drama, against the backdrop of a big, huge, common enemy that has come to claim our territory.”
One of the biggest storylines that take center stage in Season 2’s first episode is Shioli Kutsuna’s Mitsuki’s new mission in the Amazon Rainforest—making communication with an alien entity in a crashed ship.
As the story develops throughout the season, many of those scenes with Mitsuki involve the character acting in a small room with a VFX presence. So, in real life, the actor is basically by themselves performing against empty walls.
Sakharov admitted that those scenes are particularly challenging because they “[rely] so much on the imagination of the actor,” and praised Kutsuna as an actor for being able to pull off those sequences:
“It's challenging because you’re relying so much on the imagination of the actor in you know, basically, Shioli [Kutsuna], who is playing Mitsuki, she's a very subtle actor. She's a very, very, very, internal, very delicate actress. And so we talked about the environment in which she's interacting with certain elements within this confined space. And those elements aren't really there. I mean, there's lighting and there is a blue or green screen or whatever.”
The director explained that when working on those scenes, he makes sure to “rehearse it in such a way so that [they] incorporate every single beat:”
“What I usually do is rehearse it in such a way so that we incorporate every single beat that she needs to react to within the timeline of that particular action sequence. So if there is a particular beat, I don't try and smother it, [I] actually try and work it in such a way so that she has enough time to react to that beat. And it develops and it culminates and then she moves on. And then we talk about it... I need to make sure that it's imagined really well in her head so that she could properly emote, if she needs to emote or react if she needs to react or intellectualize… she's such an accomplished subtle actor.”
Once again praising Kutsana, Sakharov explained that she “understands nuances so brilliantly:”
“[Kutsana] understands nuances so brilliantly… if you tell her, 'Okay, so, Shioli, and now what we're going to do is, that thing is going to start coming towards you.' Right? And she's imagining, and she's tracking that thing with her eyes as if that thing is coming towards her. And it's a very difficult thing to do, because there's nothing there… And yet she's capable of producing that very believably. And so obviously, when you put it all together in the timeline of the edit strip, and bring it to the visual effects house and they start putting it all together, you know, you go like, 'Oh my God, she's brilliant. She's just reacting properly to all this stuff.'”
What to Expect from Invasion Season 2?
When it comes to what fans want from Season 2, one of those things is definitely more aliens. Starting everything off with a big attack is certainly a good sign of fans getting just that.
But will all that fighting continue throughout the season, or will the intense action only be a fleeting moment?
It seems that no matter what, there will be more aliens this time around. Especially since Mitsuki’s time in the Amazon on the crashed ship sounds like it'll really be doubling down and focusing more on the aliens themselves.
Perhaps her time in the Amazon will lead to the invading species actually introducing someone for the humans to interface with. It sure would be nice to have something more than mindless alien globs.
There are also some big questions the show needs to elaborate on at some point. One of the most prominent examples is the strange connection some kids have to the alien species—like Caspar and Luke (as teased in the first season’s finale).
Fingers crossed that Invasion’s second season can deliver on some of those points, at the very least.
Invasion is now streaming on Apple TV.